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My family and I travel all over the world for fun and business, and we have accumulated a number of tips, cheap ways to do things, knowledge of things that aren't all that easy to find out, oddities, and other tidbits (such as sharing recipes for our favorite world foods) along the way. As they occur to me, I will post more.

My first and foremost tip: Learn enough of the language to be polite! Hello, goodbye, please, thank you, you're welcome, and the numbers (plus "how much is that?", an important one for me) are completely learnable for anyone in any language (except maybe tonal languages like Mandarin, and even those you can memorize) and are the best thing you can do for yourself to ensure a better experience on your trip. Many people abroad don't like Americans. Sometimes it's because we're arrogant and expect everyone to speak English. Sometimes there are other reasons, like the fact that Americans I have observed are often outright rude. OK, you can hate me for that statement, but I can't tell you how many times I have watched "situations" develop that need never have happened with a few cultural manners. (See second tip below.) You can do your bit to be a traveler, not a tourist, by following the above advice.

Second tip, study the etiquette of the country to which you are travelling. I really like the "Culture Shock" series, but any good guide will do, or even reading reputable websites that give you the same information. This is especially true if you are a business traveler. I can't tell you how much grief that an etiquette book saved us on our recent business/pleasure trip to Japan, on the matter of business cards for one, and many other things too, like what to say to the host before and after the welcome banquet. Don't say the polite thing and you're a barbarian. Do, and you're at least a well mannered barbarian!

Americans are more casual than almost anyone else in the world. Therefore, we can offend other people unwittingly just by being "us". Please take the customs and manners of the countries you visit seriously, as you would expect travelers from other countries to do in the US.

That said, here are links to specific facts, tips and tricks for you. I thrive on cheap lodgings, although occasionally I will stay at a 4-star hotel if the price is right (see Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur). I have listed the ones I have stayed in and the ones I have booked for 2007 trip to Europe here (hotels from 2009 trip to Asia added 9/11/09). The transportation hints work for me, except that the European airlines are all new to me this year - will report back after I have flown in May/June 2007 (they were awesome, no problems at all - revised 9/11/09). The unusual experiences are things I think everyone should do, since they're just so cool. And I enjoyed international food and wanted to share. At some point I will post specific restaurants in the places we have traveled. Here's my list so far...


Transportation / Guide Services (return to top)

Lodgings by Area (Many are $100 or less a night, depending on travel season. Sometimes we splurge. Always splurge once each trip, is my advice) (return to top)





Unusual Experiences (return to top)

Food (return to top)

Other Tips (return to top)

Last updated 12/12/2009